Brilliant culture critic Rob Walker, author of the forthcoming book The Art of Noticing, just launched a new column at Lifehacker about "navigating the modern workplace," a continuation in some ways of his long-running New York Times column "The Workologist." Naturally, Rob's first column in the new series is about getting fired:
...What I’m suggesting is that you should not wait for a major crisis (getting fired, a horrible reorg, your worst rival becomes your boss) to start thinking about other objects. It’s better to always have a kind of low-grade, ambient awareness of and openness to other professional opportunities. That’s true even if you’re ecstatic with whatever you’re doing. Always take the lunch or have the meeting or go on the informational interview that pops up on your radar...
The absolute flat-out most irritating piece of career advice is this: Reframe challenges, failures, slap-downs, and humiliations as exciting opportunities.
Yes, we all get the logic. In fact we all get it so well that we don’t need to hear this advice anymore. Particularly right after we just got fired and it doesn’t feel exciting at all!
So let me try to offer a slightly different reframing. As noted, it totally sucks to lose your gig. But take a deep breath and try to keep an open mind about what might come next. This, in a way, is just a restatement of the “permanent job search” idea, with a little panglossian polish.